'Sick' Sunshine Girls play in local league
Contrary to Netball Jamaica reports that issues with three netballers who were suspended from the Sunshine Girls set-up have been resolved, two of the three - Shanice Beckford and Khadijah Williams - continue to shun training with the national team in preparation for August's Caribbean Championships in St Lucia.
Following a long-awaited meeting involving Netball Jamaica, Beckford and Williams, on Thursday, June 8, at which it was said that differences were thrashed out, neither girl reported for training the day after. The third player involved - Nicole Dixon, a Mico University student - is abroad on a student work-and-travel programme.
After news broke that neither girl had trained with the team, Netball Jamaica subsequently reported that both were ill and would have joined training this week. However, STAR Sports sources afterwards spotted both girls playing in local league matches, reports that have also reached Arlene Findlay, technical manager, Netball Jamaica.
STILL PLAYING MATCHES
Findlay told STAR Sports that while she had not seen Beckford, who represents UTech Knights, or Williams, playing, she also heard that they had been playing matches despite missing training.
"They told us that they were ill. I've heard that they played, but we are to find out what is going on. The mandate is that when they are going to be absent, they must notify the coach when and why they are going to be absent," Findlay told STAR Sports yesterday.
The saga with the girls started after they were suspended by national coach Jermaine Allison-McCracken for "inappropriate behaviour" ahead of a three-Test series against Barbados after they refused to adhere to certain instructions during training, particularly swimming.
The series ended 1-1 at the National Arena. The absence of the three girls was blamed for Jamaica losing the final match, resulting in the drawn series.
Coach Allison-McCracken afterwards said that she was open to the girls' return but said that it would only be after a meeting with Netball Jamaica at which certain standards would be laid down. However, when the meeting was held, it was without the presence of Allison-McCracken. When contacted, the coach said she would not comment on the matter.
Meanwhile, Findlay said that Netball Jamaica would investigate reports of the girls' playing in the local league but missing training with the national team on account of being ill.
"We are going to follow up that. That is part of the code of conduct for a squad. If a player is going to be absent from training, then the player must notify the coach. We are in the process of investigating why (they were absent)," she said.
Calls to both girls' mobiles went unanswered yesterday.